New Vocations to the Diaconate
Please pray before you go on:
O Lord, help me to know your will for me. Let your light shine in the depths of my heart that I may know what you want me to do with my life. Help me believe that you have a special plan for me. Lord, I know I pass through this life only once; help me decide how you want me to make a difference. Like our Blessed Mother, give me the wisdom to hear your voice and the courage to answer your call. Above all give me peace of mind and heart. I offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This page contains information and links for all the information necessary to inquire about and discern a possible vocation to the ordained ministry of deacon in the Diocese of Albany and to begin the application process. The steps are:
The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States and the Diocese of Albany set forth minimum standards for admission to the deacon formation process which is open to all Catholic males who are at least 32 years of age and who will be no older than 62 years of age at the time of ordination. In addition, participation in the two-year Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation is also required. Refer to the Discernment Guide below for complete details.
Our office is available to assist you on your journey. Our contact information is as follows:
Office of Initial Diaconate Formation
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany
40 North Main Avenue
Albany, New York 12203
We are on the second floor of the west building. The receptionist wIll direct you when you sign-in.
Deacon Frank Berning, D.Min.
Director of Pastoral Planning & Director of Initial Diaconate Formation
(518) 453-6661 - Pastoral Planning Administrative Assistant.
(518) 453-6670 - Diaconate Formation Administrative Assistant Eleanor (Nel) Brickett
(518) 453-6679 - Direct line.
(518) 641-6841 - Fax
A comprehensive Guide to Prayerfully Discern a Vocation to the Diaconate is available from our office or on line. It will take you through, step by step, the inquiry, discernment and formation phases of the process to become a deacon.
Once you have prayerfully reviewed the information in the Discernment Guide and have fully discussed your possible vocation with your family and pastor or parish life director, if you feel that the Holy Spirit is calling you to the diaconate, the next step is to make an appointment with the Director of Initial Diaconate Formation. Prior to the meeting, you must complete an Intake Form.
The Director will meet with you (and your wife if married) to begin the discernment process with a preliminary review of qualifications, understanding of the diaconate and any potential impediments. If approved to continue the discernment process, an application packet must be completed.
The remainder of the discernment process is fully described in the Discernment Guide above.
Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation
While the inquiry and discernment may begin at any time, the application and formation paths (Aspirancy and Candidacy) may not begin until you have completed the Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation program (or its predecessor, the Formation for Ministry Program, FMP) or equivalent.
IMPORTANT: If you are entering the Kateri ministry formation program solely because you want to be a deacon and this is a hurdle to be overcome, your intention is seriously flawed.
Check out the Kateri Institute for Lay Ministry Formation web page for complete information and required forms.
List of Spiritual Directors
The first stirring of a vocation to the diaconate is often explored at a personal level and usually begins with seeking information about the deacon lifestyle and the formation process. Here, you may initially prayerfully reflect upon the nature of your perceived call. At this point, the spiritual dimension is critical and you should not attempt to go on without a spiritual director because discerning your call is primarily a spiritual journey. It is personal and individual to you and therefore requires personal guidance. A list of qualified spiritual directors is available from the Office of Initial Diaconate Formation or the link below. Your pastor, administrator, or parish life director (PLD) and others on the parish staff are also useful resources as you discern a possible vocation.
A list of reliable Spiritual Directors may be found on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany Consultation Center web site at the Spiritual Director's link. Feel free to contact one of the Formators for the aspirancy phase for additional recommendations.
List of Support Deacons by County
The link below will provide a list of ordained and serving deacons who are available to share their own formation journey and their deacon lifestyle experiences: List of Deacons Supporting Vocation Inquiries
Formators and Diaconate Board Members
Formators are a group of dedicated women and men who assist in the recruitment and formation of deacons from the time they inquire about the diaconate, through aspirancy and candidate formation, and finally ordination.
The Diaconate Board serves the bishop in an advisory capacity for the selection and formation process in the Diocese of Albany.